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Paph Potting Assistance?

This is a discussion on Paph Potting Assistance? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hey everyone, So, I'm going to be doing some repotting of a couple of Paphs ...

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  1. #1
    Heather is offline Banned
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    Default Paph Potting Assistance?

    Hey everyone,

    So, I'm going to be doing some repotting of a couple of Paphs in the near future and have a few questions. I am a little nervous that I will pot them too deep, since I know they like their roots just below the surface of the media. I think I'm having trouble envisioning it, since I've only really seen a couple of Paph roots peeking out, and not a whole unpotted Paph before. I plant to pot most likely in 5 and 6" plastic pots with some holes drilled around, so clear on that. Just nervous on best way to avoid over potting. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated. I'm still new and nervous enough to just rather leave the plants alone for a while after they arrive in my care, but am learning that may not be the best plan. Oh yeah, I do have a huge bag of Paph mix from Kelley's Korner in Maine.

    Thank you!

    (can you tell I am nervous? Geez, how many times did I use that word in this post! lol)

  2. #2
    Paphraguy is offline Former User
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    Heather, the 5-6" plastic pots with holes drilled all around should be just fine for your Paphs and Phrags. Don't forget to drill extra holes in the bottom also. The pots should be just big enough to hold the root system comfortably. Also, try not to disturb the roots as much as possible.

  3. #3
    Heather is offline Banned
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    Allright - so I've got a 5.5" pot and a 5" inch which is about an inch deeper than the 5.5". The St. Swithin is in a 4.5" about the same depth as the 5.5" new pot. So, which is better, taller and closer in diameter to the old pot, or shorter and larger in diameter? Or, am I yet again, over analyzing to death!?

    Hey, Pete, you use mostly bark pretty exclusively for your plants right? The Paphs and Phrags anyway?

    Also, in the spirit of sharing the wealth of knowledge, do you also use distilled water?

  4. #4
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    Jmoney is offline Senior Member
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    Heather, the roots like to be near the surface in nature but we cannot accomplish that in cultivation, so I wouldn't worry about it. We stuff roots into pots, that's that, and they're ok with it.

    I like to use pots that will just fit the root system, without too much extra room. In most cases I will even use the same size pot as before, unless the plant has a ton of roots, in which case I may upgrade one size. This is different than say, cattleyas, where we deliberately leave room for a few years worth of growth. I decide on the new pot size after unpotting and pulling off any dead roots, and I've had to go smaller sizes many times before. It happens.

    When unpotting, as Peter said, be gentle because paphs don't make that many roots. But there's no need to be paranoid, since they're not that brittle. Exceptions being things like bellatulum or niveum, which like to break their roots off right at the base. Then paranoia is justified. Dead roots should be pulled off. Anything hollow is dead, anything mushy oughta be removed. When in doubt, tug gently on a root--a dead one will pull right off, while a healthy one will stay intact.

    When stuffing media into the pot, do it gently. A few good raps on the side of a table will be useful in filling in most gaps. Make sure not to cram in the media as you would for catts or cyms or whatever.

  5. #5
    Paphraguy is offline Former User
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    Heather, no I don't use distlled water, just regular tap water. I use a regular to small sized bark/stones/charcoal mix.

  6. #6
    Heather is offline Banned
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    Thanks guys! Very helpful! I have been using distilled water when possible. My corner store runs out very quickly (actually I think I'm the only buyer!) so often I resort to the tap water which is run through a Brita filter.

    Jason - thank you for the Catt. comparison. That was very useful.

    How often do you guys repot?

    Now, if I can just not bust the pots I will be ALL SET! lol.

  7. #7
    Paphraguy is offline Former User
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    I usually repot when the mix starts to show signs of decay or sometimes a year and half later when I feel like it and repot.

    Get the rubbery plastic kind pots, those are so much easier to drill holes into, quick and easy and no mess.

  8. #8
    Heather is offline Banned
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    Oh, I had no mess, just a big hole! Too funny.

    Okay - I'll look at boxstore, etc. I am not totally sure what "rubberiness" you are referring too, but I'll go check 'em out!

  9. #9
    Paphraguy is offline Former User
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    The boxstore pots are 6" plastic pots but it has that rubbermaid look and feel to it. Check out my Angraecum sesquipedale photo in the Display section. You can see the drilled pot in that picture.

  10. #10
    Heather is offline Banned
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    Okay - got a good look there, thanks Pete.
    Is that one of the so-called "Darwin's orchids?"

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